Spotlight: Turf Club

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ABAC’s Turf Club, a club committed to promoting turfgrass and golf course management, was created in the 1980s. The Turf Club is the ABAC student chapter of the (GCSAA) Golf Course Superintendents Association of America), and is currently led by club President Luke Andrews and co-advisors Dr. James McCrimmon, John Layton, and Justin Exum.

Members of the Turf Club participate in a range of educational experiences. This Monday they hosted guest speaker Tyler DaSilva, an ABAC graduate that now works as the first assistant superintendent for TPC Sawgrass. Aside from club meetings, the Turf Club also works hard to do their part in promoting turf management. Every year they travel to the Golf Course Industry Show. At the GIS, students get exposure to the industry. There are vendors demonstrating everything from equipment to fungicides, and students have an opportunity to make good impressions on golf course superintendents that may get them internship opportunities. The biggest event, however, is the Turf Bowl. The Turf Bowl is a “collegiate academic event” between colleges that have turf programs. Student teams are tested on every aspect of golf courses, from how to be a superintendent to identifying grasses. The 2021 GIS in Las Vegas was canceled due to COVID-19, and a virtual conference was held in its place. The club is looking forward to returning to the 2022 GIS and possibly participating in next year’s Turf Bowl if COVID-19 regulations allow it.

Members of the Turf Club are also active community volunteers. Once a semester, they travel to Pine Knoll Country Club in Sylvester to help aerify and topdress greens. Furthering their involvement in the community, the club also organizes fundraising activities. Usually, they hold cornhole tournaments and raffles to raise money, as well as assisting with the truck and tractor pulls the Agricultural Engineering Technology (AET) Club. However, the last two semesters have been a little different due to COVID-19. On Saturday, April  24, the Turf Club is hosting a fundraiser for the mother of their turf technician and club co-adviser, Justin Exum, who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. They’re hosting a softball tournament with four teams and all the proceeds are going to the Exum family to assist with medical bills.

While the members of the Turf Club mark themselves as emerging industry leaders, they also have fun as a club. Occasionally, they’ll take a field trip out to a place like the Pike Creek Sod Farm, and on the weekends, members of the Turf Club will often get together to play golf.

When asked what his favorite part of Turf Club was, Luke Andrews said it was interacting with other dedicated turf management students and making friends. “This industry is big, in a sense, but it’s also small in a sense. Everybody kind of knows everybody once you’ve been out for a couple of years and have done a couple of internships. When you really think about it at the end of the day, and this not just the turf industry, this is every industry, networking is huge. And knowing somebody that could potentially help you or you could help them down the road like if you’re looking for a job, or you know somebody looking for a job, and you could help them out in a way, I believe that’s huge. And Turf Club really gives you a chance to find those relationships and bonds with one another outside of being in class.”

Meetings times have recently changed. Interested students should come to horticulture room 109 every other Monday from 6pm-7pm.

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